If you folks haven't seen the movie Thank You for Smoking, you should run right out and rent it, or at the very least, put it near the top of your NetFlix que. In it, the film's hero, a tabacco lobbyist, is trying to teach his son how to argue effectively. The two begin debating which is better, chocolate or vanilla ice cream. The son tries to argue that chocolate is the best, but his father says that he believes that people should have the freedom to look at both flavors, and even all the other flavors, and decide which one is best for themselves.
That's a great argument for the tobacco companies, because it puts the death and illness caused by tabacco on the people who decide to smoke. This is an argument that I endorse, actually. I think cigarettes should be a controlled substance and that there is absolutely no benefit to smoking (or chewing), but I don't really blame the tabacco companies. The world would certainly be a better place if they weren't here, but the truth of the matter is that people keep Big Tabacco afloat. If we all stopped smoking tomorrow, they'd be up the creek without a paddle.
But that's not my point. I bring up that argument because it's exactly the same argument that ID'ists are backing, but to a more limited degree. Evolution might be right, and it might be wrong, but people should have the freedom to look at the evidence themselves and embrace one or the other. That's the ideal argument, right? But it's not what the ID'ists are saying.
Evolution might be right, but we think it's wrong, and life might have been created by some vague "Creator," but at any rate intelligently designed, because if you find a fork in the road somewhere you assume it was created, and in order to push our point across, we think that children should be taught both science AND psuedo-religion in classrooms across America, with equal time no less, and the children can have the freedom to decide which one they like best.
But the teaching of Intelligent Design itself comes with some flaws. For one, the entire basis of the "theory" seems to compose of poking holes, many of which are outdated and moot, in Darwin's original theory of natural selection. Second, the next tier of ID seems to conclude that if it's complex, it must have been designed. There is no other alternative. So it's not a matter of vanilla, strawberry, rocky road, chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter cup, or cookie dough. It's chocolate or vanilla, dammit, and you've gotta choose one or the other.
And then you've got propoganda films like Expelled!, which misrepresent their interviewees, lie to their audience, and paint that tired line between Darwin and Nazis. In fact, in Hitler's case, the opposite may have been true, but you don't see scientists whipping together anti-religion films to make that fact painfully known. I don't think scientists are attacking the ID movement feverishly is because they don't see ID as a threat, and in terms of professional science, it's not, but in terms of public conscience, I believe it is.
Why do I say this? Because Aaron Eckhart makes another very important point to his son in Thank You For Smoking. "I'm not trying to convince you," he tells his son, "I'm trying to convince them." He gestures to the large crowd around them. The ID movement is not trying to corrupt the scientific community, but the public at large. That is the real threat, and that is the audience which science needs to actively pursue.